January 23, 2003

Thirty years ago today Neil Young interrupted a New York City concert to announce that the Vietnam war had finally ended. To mark that day we're linking to a spectacular collection of posters and drawings at the British Library. Behind The Lines: Images from the War 1965-75 is a fascinating collection of posters and drawings made by Vietnamese artists. The exhibition allows one to see aspects of daily life during the war from the perspective of the Vietnamese; a perspective that we at least have seldom seen. The drawing above was done in 1965 by Nguyen Thu.

January 20, 2003

Long time readers know that two of our favorite things are "on-this-day -in-history" sites and sites which collect a large number of audio & video clips. So you can imagine our delight when we found the awesome BBC On This Day site. It's like a typical on this day site but with the bonus advantage of being able to offer you audio and video clips from the BBC. Today for example you could see JFK being sworn in as president (1961) or the meeting of Sir Edmund Hillary and Sir Vivian Fuchs at the South Pole (1958). So very cool it may well become our first stop of the day. Even better the stuff doesn't disappear at the end of the day, it's all sitting there nicely categorized into Themes.

We were feeling just a little dark and brooding this morning (probably from staying up all night reading Poe) but we're dancing fools again now that the irrepressible cheesedip has pointed us to this great cover of Staying Alive by Ozzy Osbourne and Dweezil Zappa.

January 19, 2003

Today is Edgar Allan Poe's birthday. To celebrate you could go and listen to Willem Defoe recite Poe's classic tale The Raven with new words and music by Lou Reed. (No, we are not kidding.) It seems Lou is about to release a new album, also called The Raven which is based on Poe's works. If you want to read the original text you can find it at the The Museum of Edgar Allan Poe along with several other great stories. There's also a great LOC Today in History on Poe.

The January 15 edition of snarkout might just be the best one ever. What a tale! What links! What a mess!

January 17, 2003

Chris Usher takes photographs with an old Polaroid SX-70 then, while the chemicals are still wet, pushs them around with various tools. The effect is stunning.

Funny, funny New Yorker piece on that crucial question we all grapple with daily - Am I Hot Or Not.

January 16, 2003

He's going for the record! Will he make it? Follow the excitement all day today as Dennis Mahoney of 0format attempts to blog his entire day in one hundred (100!) posts.

We found this gorgeous photo on one of our favorite photoblogs - pallalink.

We've always kind of known that Carol Channing was once considered to be a great comedic actress, we just never really knew why. Well, now we do. Hello, Dolly!

January 15, 2003

We can't stay away from the The New York Public Library's super-impressive new Image Gate site. Although it's only in Beta Version 1.0 they already have 80 000 images in the database. By the end of 2004 they claim they'll have over 600 000 images. Wow. Probably the best introduction to the collection is to visit this page where you'll find guides to some really cool stuff. One of our favorite collections so far has been the extensive collection titled The Art of the Cigarette Card which includes 450 cigarette cards in five series, The ABC of Sport, Actresses and Cinema Stars, Aeroplane Markings, Animal Studies, and (Portage's fave) This Age of Power and Wonder (that's where the above image of "how London might be lighted" came from). Also not to be missed are the photographs of immigrants taken by William Williams at the beginning of the twentieth century or the ladies' dress shoes of the nineteenth century.

January 13, 2003

The above photograph of Chrondus Crispus was produced by Anna Atkins in the 1840's and published, along with 211 other images, as Photographs of British Algae: Cyanotype Impressions. It was the first photographically produced book. Thirteen copies are thought to still be in existence. The New York Public Library has digitized their copy and now all 212 images are online.

January 09, 2003

Aha!! (you've just said to yourself), I know what that is, that's a Mondrian! Probably from the late 1930's during the Composition phase but before Broadway Boogie Woogie. Well, Ms. or Mr. Smartypants, you're wrong. We made that ourselves using the superfun Mondrian Machine which allows you to create your very own Mondrianesque images.
(link via Uren.Dagen.Nachten)

Caterina points us to another treasure trove of bookplates. Special Collections at Notre Dame have an excellent collection of 418 personal pictorial bookplates. One of our favorites was William Maxwell's. (Again no browseable thumbnails. What's the big deal? If pornographers can do it, why can't librarians in charge of bookplate collections?) Also well worth a look at Notre Dame is their digital Heraldic Dictionary so that you can learn the difference between a wyvern erect and a serpent nowed.

January 08, 2003

Although he was only 32 years old when he died in 1944 Phillipe Masson managed to accumulate a collection of over 4500 bookplates. The collection was acquired by Montreal's McGill University in 1972 and has now been digitized as the Phillipe Masson Ex Libris Collection. Although the reproductions are excellent the interface is, uncharacteristically for McGill Digital Collections, a real pain. It is not browsable, only searchable, so you have to do some work to see the plates. Some of our favorites included the bookplates of Mary Doolittle Alexander, Sara Blake, Harry LeBreton Gray, Ralph & Louise Webber, Fredrick Gilbert Newton, and Jules Poulin.

If you'd like to read about the history of the bookplate there Antioch Press has a page on The Origin of the Bookplate

January 07, 2003

The awesome CBC Archives site continues to impress us with an increasingly generous collection of audio and video clips. They plan to add new clips on a weekly basis. The CBC, or Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, is Canada's national broadcaster comprised of a television network and two radio networks. The new digital archives offers radio clips from 1936 onwards and television clips from 1952 on. There's some great stuff in there. Unfortunately it's impossible to link directly to specific clips so you'll just have to go and look for yourselves. The archives will be primarily of interest to Canadians but there's lots here of global interest. Well worth a look.

We stated above that the CBC has two radio networks. We should mention that work continues on a third internet-only CBC radio station CBC Radio 3 which is targeted towards a younger, hipper audience. It currently offers a playlist of twenty great tracks from some of the best new Canadian modern rock acts. A very promising start for a long overdue project.

January 04, 2003

We at Portage understand. Sometimes you're feeling a little blue, like you're chained to your desk and will never escape. You wish you could just...just...well... just fly away. Now you can. All you have to do is switch over to your super-secret alter-ego - Fly Guy - and start soaring!
(link via Bonnie Blog)

January 03, 2003

Helloha. Happy New Year. We're back. Sorry about the mixup with promising you all kinds of Christmas tunes and images and then disappearing like that. As usual we can't tell you where we were, or what we were doing, but we can tell you that we're going to be around for a while and that Portage will be updated at least five times a week through January and February. (Unless we mysteriously disappear again, but we don't think we will.) Oh, and if we owe you an email we're going to be clearing up that logjam too.

Happy Third Birthday to one of Portage's earliest weblog influences, the mighty Plep! Well done Stephen!


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